Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Roots
Fog's Audios

Roots

[Start Audio]
….
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With some time to think about this, it seems strange that the evening started with me fishing at a tranquil lake, drinking a beer and I ended it sitting in an underground Multifuel tank. After running for my life, of course.
Then again, considering the guys I’m running with, it’s not that big a twist.
So, how did it come to this?
One of the more valuable lessons I’ve learned, and I’m thankful for that, is that other people have problems too. Everyone has a past, everyone has baggage.
You can spend months with someone and barely scratch the surface of who they are.
Could be ‘cause you’re too busy surviving, or you wanna keep things professional, or simply ‘cause you assume things.
Nebraska, for example.
Granted, I don’t much care who my people were compared to who they are, but what she told me explained a lot about her and her quirks.
There was a place near the motel we were staying and let’s just say it wasn’t a good place. Some assholes were pulling a stunt pretty similar to the sanatorium back in Seattle.
She’s been through that.
Two of Nebraska’s friends were still held there and she wanted to bail them out, no matter what.
She promised them she’d come back, that she wouldn’t leave them behind.
Sounds familiar, don’t ya think?
Gotta admit, I was disappointed that she tried to push that button and wasn’t just straight forward about it, but it didn’t matter.
She needed my help. I was there. And that’s that.

The B&E itself wasn’t that tough. We found the cabin where Dakota and Redeye, Nebraska’s friends, were held.
We got in and out with the usual problems.
But there was a kicker: while Dakota made little effort to prevent our noble rescue attempt, Redeye fought tooth and nail to stay.
Spirits, I thought it was the Bliss, but she went totally berserk on me. A 5 foot elf girl almost decked me…
Why on earth would she struggle so much to stay in this horrible camp where she’s drugged and abused?
Thing is, as we rode off, she got worse by the minute. None of us could make sense of it while the medkit callously continued to spit out sad numbers.
And that’s were we go full circle.
If you listen, you can understand who people are.
Well, d’uh, right? But it’s not that simple, I guess.
Nebraska and Dakota said something about her never making an attempt to escape but rather help people inside.
She had a garden she loved.
She was a remarkably small elf.
As I had just found out, she’d rather wither away in misery than leave that fucking camp.
Leaving the place she lived made her terribly sick.
All those tiny bits made things fall into place.
And in case you didn’t get it by now… She’s a dryad.
One of the less common metatypes of our colorful human species.
She was tied to her home and those ties were about to snap.
In folklore dryads die when they leave their home, when they lose their roots.
Stories about them did never end well as far as I recall.
So I figured it was time for my own canon.
When I knew what to look for, it was easier to see the astral bond to her home and I could see how it strained, how it got weaker.
I waited for it to snap…and took all the backlash.
The pain was… massive, but nothing I haven’t had before. What made this overwhelming were the emotions riding the wave of agony.
It’s called empathic healing for a reason, you know?
And I understand why this would have killed her.
Apart from the trauma, there was… a craving, a yearning for a place to belong so strong that it hurt. Imagining to lose this bond was painful beyond words, so I’ll just leave it at that.
We were both in bad shape, but we’ll live.
For now.

[End Audio]

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Lots and Lots of Sky
Fog's Audios

Lots and Lots of Sky

[Start Audio]
….
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The Audio starts with roughly 10 seconds of pained laughter.

“I mean, just imagine driving the whole distance there…fucking ridiculous.”
Ha…Spirits, we’re SO fucked.
So very, very and royally fucked.
More time, more danger more….fffffuck.
Okay. Yeah, we drive the chocolate, our 1 mill chocolate, all the way up to Boston. We have to cross borders, we have to dodge magic hazards and face even more racism and prejudice than at home while waving fake IDs around and hope for the best.
By “we”, I mean Zoe, Stan, Jet, Nebraska and myself.
Just to prove that we’re capable or some shit.
Capable of hilariously dying, probably. None of us has any experience with this crap. I’m the only one who could remotely pass as a smuggler and I never fucking left Seattle.
My Sioux’s also a bit rusty, but that’s the least of our problems.
This can go wrong so many ways…but there’s no choice. We’re in this now so we might as well pull through as best we can, right?
Cover’s a decent one, the rides are good and we got some bribe money left.
ETA is in 6 or 7 days, if nothing goes wrong, so…we’ll see about that.
We’ll stick to the highway, try to make no fuzz and get through the NAN…sounds reasonable enough.
I just hope I can get everyone through this alive…

[End Audio]

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Hey, Little Sister

camera activates. Rusty‘s sitting on the floor on a mattress, surrounded by crumpled blankets and sleeping bags. He looks like he hasn’t slept for days. The regular beeping of hospital machinery is heard over his voice.

Brigit. She’s…gonna be an ork. She complained about cramps a couple of days ago and she had a fever and everything, it looked serious, so I called Diego to check on her. He took her to the clinic right away and they are doing everything they can to make it easy for her. If this is easy, though, then I don’t want to see hard. Unless they drug her, she’s screaming all the time and her muscles keep seizing up. Sometimes, I watch her and I can see the change as it happens. Neil and Diego say that she’s doing well. No serious problems.

I don’t care if she’s an ork or a troll or whatever, she’s my sister and I love her. But she’s taking it hard. She’s so scared and I can’t really help her. She’s afraid of what people are going to say and about what’s going to happen with her future. And I can’t say that everything will be okay and not lie. Because it won’t be and she knows it. But shit, it’s not like her life is over. It’s probably gonna take some time. I just wish I could do something except sit here.

Ling‘s been keeping us company. I guess we’re finally together now, took us long enough. Yeah, okay, took me long enough, her not so much. No idea what I’d do without her in this – she’s been through all that shit with her brother and Brigit can talk to her, about what’s it like, being an ork. When this is over, I really need to do something special for Ling, she deserves it.

Diego told me that it’s extremely rare for children of two humans to goblinize. His guess: my mother had an affair. That’s… I don’t even know. I should care, probably, but I don’t. No idea if I’m going to talk to Brigit about this. I am curious who it was, though. Who would be crazy enough to fuck with Angus’ wife. That’s suicidal, there’s no other word for it. Maybe one day I’ll ask.

camera deactivates

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Fishing Bowl
Fog's Audios

Fishing Bowl

[Start Audio]
….
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Seattle’s soil may be polluted, disgusting sludge, but it feels good to be on home ground again.
Not that Boston wasn’t nice, but let’s just say it would’ve been bad to stick around much longer.
For all of us.
Rusty got in some trouble but first things first.
We went to the aquarium.
And as always, when we try to do something completely harmless, things just go south till we can see penguins facepalming at us.
Turned out the crabs weren’t that exciting, but that place had selkies. Real selkies.
Like, sentient beings. Put behind glass for their own ‘protection’ and the amusement of some tourist morons who paid 10 Nuyen.

Things escalated quickly from there. Zoe went all Sad Disney Princess and I gotta admit, it always pains me to see supernatural things suffer. It’s kinda hard to describe. There’s a certain beauty and wonder to awakened things and though selkies have a reputation to mess with longing and desire, they weren’t even in human form. They were just magic seals from a time when things were much easier; and they didn’t deserve to wither away in a fucking fish tank.
Sad story, but there was nothing we could do. I like fixing things, but this wasn’t my league.
I told Glitzy and yeah, well, knowing her and her anarchic tendencies, it was literally a matter of minutes until she bent over some contacts and got her hands on two ghost suits.
Fast forward and we ninja-ed our way into the aquarium, talked the selkies into leaving Boston with us, smuggled three sentient shapeshifters out of fucking Boston Airport after beating up some frat-boys who didn’t know how to behave…and all that without major catastrophes.

The disaster tried to catch up in a completely unrelated way, though.
Rusty had his own little job and some assholes tried to get the best of him.
They awaited us on the airfield, but in a friggin mess featuring a flare gun, a booze-filled Supersoaker and a team of runners who got the attention of a lot of bad Karma.
That was really…weird. Sorry, there’s no other word for it.
I almost pity that poor ork who tried to deck me but instead had to run, after his whole team fell victim to extraordinary bad luck.
Was kinda nice, though, to be on the other end of things for a change.

The selkies have a new home and Zoe still got a crush on one of them. I hope she gets over it. Relationships like those tend to end ugly. Those guys and girls look like us if they want to, but they’re something different. It’s this two worlds thing. It may work out, I’m the last one who doesn’t believe in this crap, but odds are if she keeps it up, she’ll end up in a watery grave.

[End Audio]

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TARFU
Bento's Log

Fuck. This is a fucking nightmare. ‘Grab the data courier’, sounded easy enough. Even easier when we got our first look at the guy, he’s just a kid. If he’s more than eighteen, I’m Dunkelzahn. So we wait until he leaves and Joyce says to grab him on the street. Good plan, unless you get rear ended by a garbage truck. Knocked Yana out and Joyce and me ran after the kid, across a railyard.

I got caught in a switch, almost broke my foot, and could only watch while Joyce tackled the kid. Would have been the end of that if the guys from railroad security hadn’t jumped both of them. The kid gave them the slip and climbed over the fence. He’s got guts, I have to hand him that. Just grabbed onto the razor wire and pulled himself up. That must have hurt like a bitch. Joyce had to talk security into letting us go – it’s not like he could just have pulled a gun. Although I could see his hands twitching from where I was standing.

A bit of searching got us the kid’s SIN and the information that he would be leaving Boston soon on a small plane. Doing anything at Logan was out of the question, so we hired a jet and waited at the airfield out in the sticks in North Dakota where they were supposed to land. NAN territory, but we weren’t planning on hanging around. We were listening in to the tower chatter and for some reason, the kid’s plane had an engine problem and was forced to land on another airfield. Smart move.

Wheels up again for us, arriving in Seattle with a couple of hours to spare. Enough to get a good look at Harvey Airfield, another man and some transportation. We waited until the customs officer left, no sense in getting him in the middle of it. From what the customs declaration said, the people on board the plan were just a couple of corporate drones.

Man, we got fucked. First, Yana fumbled his stun spell and knocked himself out. Then, Joyce went berserk on a girl carrying a fucking water pistol, but before he could do any serious harm, he stopped dead and just stared at the three people accompanying the girl. I don’t know if that was some kind of spell or whatever, but he was out of it. Practically started drooling.

We had one more thing going for us, Stacker behind the hangar. But they had made him already and shot him with a flaregun. He’s in the hospital now, with third degree burns and it would have been worse if they hadn’t had the decency to use a fire extinguisher on him. I could hear a bike engine in the hangar and made one last attempt to get the kid. Which might have worked, but corporate drones my ass. The guy who fought me should have been out of it after two blows, but instead he kept coming at me.

I decided to cut my losses and bailed before anyone could call KE. We were supposed to meet at this safehouse if anything went wrong. Yana’s more or less okay and I know where Stacker is. But Joyce? No idea. I can’t reach him, not on his commlink and not at the ShadowSea drop. He hasn’t turned up here and he hasn’t checked in with our Johnson. I did get a call from someone, asking for a meetup at ShadowSea. Someone from the kid’s group. I suspect they have Joyce.

This is TARFU’d beyond belief. I’m going to see what they want from us and then I’m going to do some really creative reporting for our Johnson.

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Shipping up to Boston
Fog's Audios

Shipping up to Boston
[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

A few days to breathe…yeah, that’s a good thing. Got my head back into the game with a clearer view of what lies ahead.
We were off for Boston, by air. Thank all Spirits Rusty and Glitzy know how to fly AND have a plane. I mean, just imagine driving the whole distance there…fucking ridiculous.
Whatever strings Glitzy had to pull to get us this gig it really puts her off…somehow. It’s weird, seemed to be all business but also absolutely not business for her at the same time. Hard to explain, but she just slapped on her pokerface and that was that.

So, yeah, we got there without problems for a change, pretended we knew how to act like proper business people… I could finally tick off ‘Eat a friggin’ lobster’ on my bucket list and then we had our talk with Mister Stone, the most honest business man I’ve ever seen. I’m talking about the kinda businessman who makes you offers you can’t reject, values family and has ties to excellent concrete cobblers.
We talked about our approach before the actual deal so we wouldn’t screw up too badly and to be fair, we didn’t.
We raised the stakes a bit too high, he called our bluff and we got served.
For the first time I can remember, I broke with my prime principle to never lie or cheat in a deal.
Deal’s a deal and all that.
Well, since 10 millions were on the table, I took the gamble and lost.
Mister Stone’s no fool and he found out the chocolate was fake. Good fake, but still fake.
Glitzy’s contact basically strongarmed us into accepting 1 million and getting the stuff up here ourselves. At least he’ll cover transport and other expenses and we may get more jobs out of this, but that’s all we got.
We accepted and with still tasty 100k on the horizon for each of us, it’s now enjoying the East Coast.
Heard they had a nice Aquarium here with giant monster crabs or something and a haunted townhall…


[End Audio]

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Letter from Boston
Letters from Firefox

Neil,
it seems a bit weird to do this: writing a letter by hand on paper that you will only be able to touch once you have left your body behind. It’s very limiting to do this, I could just filter my stream and send it to you. On the other hand, there is some attraction in finding words for my feelings and experiences and the act of writing it all down is calming. I find it takes a lot of attention to do this.

I travelled on Ruby‘s deck, but of course I didn’t stay there. I spent most of the flight in the plane’s system, it was quite exhilarating to share its data, especially when the winds over the Cascades threw us around a bit. I think Jet found it a bit too much or maybe it was just the hangover. Everyone looked a bit tired.

Boston, at least the inner city, is so tiny compared to Seattle. Even the Matrix – of course there’s a lot of traffic from the financial district, but it has a leisurely feeling to it. Havard, MIT and the Draco Foundation light up like bonfires in the middle of it. We were brought to a house outside Boston, I think it’s very old, at least as people from the UCAS see old. Although, considerung your heritage, you might disagree.

With 24 hours of free time, we did a quick tour of the city and Zoé wanted to visit the New England Aquarium. Did you ever see the selkies they have there? They are sentient beings and the aquarium displays them like they are fish. I’m not even sure how I feel about displaying any animals for your own amusement, but the selkies shouldn’t be in such a place. Fog and Zoé agree and I think they are hatching a plan to free the selkies.

But first the negotations. Things could have gone better, but considering that they lied to Mr Stone who was not at all amused about this, it could have gone worse. They ended up with a million and the chance to work for Stone again. After a closer look at the man, that could be worth more than the million. But they have to get the chocolate to Boston before they see the money.

Ruby spent the day away from the group and asked me for privacy, so I can’t say what she did. I did some sightseeing in the Boston grid by myself and I looked up the house, like you asked me to. It’s still there and it looks like you described. It would seem your mother does still live there, although I could have found that out easier. But we already talked about this.

I will see you when I get back. Well, back…I amuse myself by pretending that I cannot leave Boston until the others are leaving, too.
Love
Firefox

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No Rest for the Wicked
Rusty's Vlog

Camera activates: Rusty’s sitting in some seedy hotel room. His neighbors are eiher fucking or watching porn. He has a fat lip and some scratches and his knuckles are bloody, his palms and fingers are bandaged.

Fucking shit! I shoulda known that this wasn’t going to be simple. I flew Glitzy, Fog and the gang over to Boston and I brought them all up and back down again alive. I kinda thought that this had been the hard part of the trip. Yeah, Growler told me to be on the lookout for trouble, but it’s not like I haven’t done this before.

This morning, I went to see Rory down at the motor pool of Emerald Recycling and he unloaded the data, gave me another parcel to bring back to Growler. And he said to go out back, there were people with their eyes on the building. He also gave me a couple of places where I could lay low if I needed to. When I came out again, crossing over the parking lot, I made the guys Rory had been talking about and they had seen me. They followed me along the street in a van and I guess they were planning to grab me, only a garbage truck rear-ended them. Prooobably not an accident.

Anyway, I took the chance and ran, heading in the direction of the railyard, no way they could follow me there in the van. Two of them went after me on foot, both of them orks and fuck, they were fast. One of them got his foot caught in a switch, but the other one followed me and we played hide and seek between the trains. Complete nightmare, I almost got hit by one and pretty soon railyard security was chasing us. That worked in my favor, though, because they got the ork just when he had grabbed me. I would have had no chance in hell to fight him off, that guy was completely hulked out even without his cyberware. But with five guys coming down on him, he let me go and I ran. I think he tried to fight them, but I didn’t stop to watch, just climbed the fence, ripped my hands on barbed wire and got away. Crossed the interstate and went into hiding in the Rox.

Shit, I thought I’d get to see something else for a change and now I’m stuck in a fucking slum again. I’m fairly sure they’re not going to find me, but sooner or later I’m going to have to get out of here. I need to call Glitzy, check how much longer they are going to stay. I can keep my head down, but they’re not all that keen to maybe get into my trouble I guess. So maybe I better find my own way home.

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Love of Hopeless Causes
Rusty's Vlog

camera activates: Rusty’s sitting on the tarmac in front of a hangar with a small single engine plane, enjoying the early sun…well, as much enjoying it as anyone can who only got five hours of sleep. A small plane is circling overhead and swifts call, it looks and feels a lot like summer, even in Seattle

Nebraska turned fourteen and I think no-one’s more surprised about that than she is. We got together and celebrated at the Skeleton. Nebraska’s together with Eric now and to tell the truth, that freaked me out at first. Eric’s my friend and all, but shit, she’s as old as Brigit. I can’t get over that when I look at her, I go into older brother-mode and I gave Eric a lot of shit about it.

We both said some stuff we shouldn’t have said and Eric lost it, tried to punch me. I dodged him or I probably would have spent the rest of the day at the clinic. I could have kicked myself, I just wanted to talk and instead it looked like we had just messed things up. Nebraska dragged Eric up to my place when she came home from work and fuck, that was awkward. But we agreed that we had caught each other on the wrong foot and tried again. This time, we actually got around to talking instead of shouting at each other and yeah, I get what they see in each other. They wil get more than enough shit from people who don’t know them, they don’t need that from me. I’ll have their back.

At the party, Zoé asked me to dance and I did, because it’s only a dance, right? Yeah. No. Not with Líng watching from the sidelines and I should have thought of that. Next thing I know, Líng has had a go at Zoé at the ladies’ and since Zoé probably didn’t back down because come on, she didn’t do anything wrong, Líng punched her out.

I was so fucking pissed at her, what is she gonna do, stalk every girl I so much as smile at? That’s not going to work out then. But by the time we got back to the Nest, she had sobered up enough to admit that she had overreacted. And yeah, admit it, we’re only waiting around for me to get my shit together after Liana, so dancing with Zoé was kind of a dick move from me.

When we get back from Boston, we’ll go out, on a real date, not just hanging around together. Seriously, the only reason why we didn’t fuck last night was because we had nowhere to go, not with little brothers and sisters around. But it’s probably better that way.

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Those We Left Behind
Fog's Audios

Those We Left Behind

[Start Audio]
….
[no time stamp]

I…no, screw this…


[End Audio]

[Start Audio]
….
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Okay…
That’s better.
I don’t know what to say, really. It’s all so unreal.
Rook’s alive…Spirits, my partner is alive…
Glow City did something to her, though, something most awakened consider worse than death. A totem’s like a coin and one side has all the bad stuff. To survive, she made a deal with the devil, in lack of better words.
She’s with the Stilettos now. They chose Satellite Day to unleash hell on the Eagles of Revenge.
And I lost it.
Within in seconds of this unlikely coincidence, blind actionism elbowed its way through the clusterfuck of my emotions and my body gladly followed the only clear order given: Do something!
Get her out of there, and if you can’t, make sure you won’t lose her again!
And so I did.
Man, what a run.
Smoke, confusion, bodies, mutant dogs everywhere, but I almost did it.
Should’ve known. She’s better than me, she’s not one you try to trick.
I chipped her, but she spotted the others and we all had to run for our lives.
The mutant assholes and their mutilated dogs swarmed the plant… my people barely got out while I was busy getting pincushioned by crossbow bolts.
That was one of those times when I wished I’d still be on my own. At least then nobody but me would take the fall for my botches.
Gotta admit, though, when I was on that roof, sore lungs and aching limbs I was genuinely happy I wasn’t alone.
Ela came for me, braving bullets and bolts. I sometimes wonder what makes me deserve that loyalty.
Talking about the real deal, here. I mean, Jet made a break for me with my bike, but like most people, he did that ‘cause he doesn’t like unsettled debts. See the difference?
Well, I can.

We made it out alive. Barely, but we made it. If it wasn’t for my magic I guess those bolts would’ve finished me off. Never seen Neil so worried…the muties tend to poison their arrows and bolts. Hurt like hell, but it takes more to keep me down.
Our rides were wrecked, everyone was injured, one of the zoners lost his arm and Rod got left behind…at least he’s still alive and considering the circumstances also well.
I’m still off-balance…insecure. That’s something I’m not used to.
Talking helped. Not much, but it did.
Nothing I can do though but stick to the plan.
That’s probably what hurts the most but it’s also the only remedy I guess.
We’ll go to Boston.
We’ll get the money.
And then I will get my partner back.


[End Audio]

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